Eni to buy Barnett shale interest from Quicksilver

Paula Dittrick
OGJ Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, May 18 -- Italy's Eni SPA has agreed to acquire 27.5% interest in 270,000 acres in the Fort Worth basin's Barnett shale from Quicksilver Resources Inc., Fort Worth, for $280 million.

Eni and Quicksilver formed a strategic alliance for acquisition, development, and exploitation of unconventional natural gas.

Quicksilver will operate the alliance properties. Eni is buying a stake in assets within Quicksilver's existing Alliance project, which covers 13,000 net acres in the Texas counties of Denton and Tarrant.

The Eni-Quicksilver alliance is expected to provide a mutual technical exchange between the two companies.

Rick Buterbaugh, Quicksilver vice-president of investor relations and corporate planning, told OGJ that Eni brings seismic expertise while Quicksilver brings expertise in shale gas acquisition and development projects.

Quicksilver and Eni might do additional projects together in the future although the terms of this transaction carry no obligation to do that, Buterbaugh said.

The transaction includes the sale of 131 bcf of proved reserves and 96 bcf of probable and possible resources. Closing is expected by June 15. The partners plan to drill 300 wells by 2013. Eni's share of the development cost is estimated at $210 million, of which $37 million is expected to be spent this year.

Eni has the right to 27.5% interest in any additional leases that Quicksilver buys in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, an Eni news release said.

The Eni transaction represents 5% of Quicksilver's total proved reserves at yearend 2008. The transaction does not include Quicksilver's midstream gathering infrastructure or any of its existing leasehold beyond the Alliance project properties.

Separately in the US, Eni already owns interest in leases in the Gulf of Mexico and also in Alaska.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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